Finally after 3 tries (2nd Anniv and 3rd Anniv with plane tickets already), we finally made it to visit Puerto Princesa and El Nido! It’s our 4th Anniversary and some things changed already. Franz already finished college and is currently looking for a job here in Manila. So this time, we don’t have to worry about any absences from work or school. Just leisure and adventure!
As usual, we booked our promo tickets ahead. I decided to stay in Palawan for 7 days both in El Nido and Puerto Princesa to fully cover both places. Below is our itinerary:
Before we left, I just made sure our hotel Bookings through Booking.com and Facebook.
Day 1: November 23, 2016
We arrived in Puerto Princesa Airport around 11:00am. We don’t have any PPS tours (Underground and Honda Bay) yet because I’m looking for cheaper alternatives than those referred in some blogs, those in the airport, and even in some travel agencies online. Still trying my luck on hitting our budget!
While waiting for our transfers to El Nido, we had a quick lunch near the airport. Our transfers were arranged by our hotel. Here are the rates:
- PPS to EL Nido = Php 600/person
- El Nido to PPS = Php 500/person
- TOTAL = Php 1,100/person
Around 1pm, we left Puerto Princesa bound to El Nido. The trip to El Nido from Puerto Princesa is almost 6-7 hours so better prepare yourself for a bumpy and ‘biyahilo’ ride. But don’t worry there are 3 stopovers where you can stretch out your legs, buy food and take awesome pictures.
We arrived in El Nido around 7:30 PM. We were dropped off to where we will stay for the next 3 days, El Nido Cliffside Cottages. Rate is 700/night for 2 (but can be 3). It is a closed cottage with own bathroom. We opted to get a fan room instead of aircon room which is only 800/night to save a bit of money and because you don’t really need an aircon when you are in El Nido.
After checking-in, we roamed around the town proper and find a place where we can have our dinner. There are a lot of restaurants in El Nido so you don’t need to worry where to eat.
Day 2: November 24, 2016
Ready for our first tour – Tour A: Island Hopping in El Nido. We were picked up from our hotel around 8:45am. We walked going to the port area for the registration.
Must: Bring aqua shoes with you. There are aqua shoes for rent in the port area for only P150 but most of the shoes are already tattered or overused.
7 Commandos Beach
Aside from the Puka Beach in Boracay and Britania Island in Surigao, 7 Commandos Beach in El Nido is already part of my favorite beaches in the country.
The ‘truly’ powdery white sand, very clear blue waters and clean beach captured my heart. If I were to beach bum, I might choose to stay in 7 Commandos.
On our way to Secret Lagoon, we saw beautiful scenery of islands, big rocky mountains and clear blue waters that you can see in El Nido.
Before you can go to the Secret Lagoon, you need to pass by a small hole.
The view around Secret Lagoon is picture-perfect.
It’s lunch time. But before we hoard some seafood for lunch, we do snorkeling and beach bumming. Almost all Tour A spend lunch time in Shimizu Island so you’ll get along with other tourists there. We also sighted some monitor lizard around.
After our sumptuous lunch, we went immediately to the Big Lagoon. Because it’s low tide when we were there, we walked some distance going to the lagoon. If you don’t want to walk, you can rent a kayak instead.
From the Big Lagoon, we went to Small Lagoon. The only way to go through the small lagoon is through kayak. There are available kayaks around for you to rent. Water inside the lagoon is so deep and there’s very few areas where you can sit to rest when you are tired swimming.
We went back to the town proper around 5pm. After freshening up, we decided to rent a motorcycle for an hour to roam around the town and have dinner.
Day 3: November 25, 2016
While we are ready for the next tour – Tour C, we received a message from our hotel attendant that all island tours are cancelled due to Typhoon Marce. They offered us an inland tour for 450 per person for Nacpan Beach and Las Cavanas Beach exclusive of lunch. We decided to do it on our own. We rented out a motorcycle for Php400 only for 12 hours exclusive of the gasoline.
From the town proper, we traveled around 45 minutes to Nacpan Beach. We paid Php50/person for the entrance fee. You don’t need to pay for the environmental fee (Php40/person) if you already had any island tour.
Strong wind and big waves welcomed us. We just quickly played along the big waves.
Then we went back to the town proper and had a lunch at Café Mezzanine. They offered unlimited pasta from 12nn-5pm.
We also went to the other side of Nacpan Beach which is Calitang Beach. Calitang Beach is totally opposite of Nacpan. It is calm, grey-to-black sand and not touristy. They said that the beach is intended for the fishermen.
Las Cabanas Beach
After which, we went to Las Cabanas Beach which is just 5-10 minutes away from the town. They said that during normal days (when island tours are available) a lot of foreigners who liked a quieter and laid-back place visit Las Cabanas. Sunsets are also the prettiest in Las Cabanas.
After more than an hour of swimming, we went back to the town and had a beach front dinner at Jarece Grill.
Day 4: November 26, 2016
We woke up very early to catch up the 1st trip back to Puerto Princesa. We left El Nido around 5am. Similarly, we had 3 stops for breakfast and snacks.
Arrived in Puerto Princesa City around 11:30am. Had a quick grocery at NCCC Supermarket and lunch at Nok’s Eatery. We tried the famous Chao Long – a Vietnamese Noodle Soup.
We checked-in in Prima Residences. They helped us for the tours. We aced 2,500/person with free lunch for both Underground River Tour and Honda Bay Tour.
Later in the afternoon, we had our DIY City tour. City Tour in Puerto Princesa costs 600/person. Instead of spending 1,200 for the both of us. We had options of commuting or motorcycle rental. Commuting is not much of an advantage for us because our hotel is a bit far and tricycle fare in PPS is a bit expensive. We opted to have motorcycle rental for 6 hours for only P400 inclusive of the gasoline.
First stop is Baker’s Hill. Pastries in Baker’s Hill are the cheapest and the yummiest. If I were to come back in Puerto Princesa, I will definitely go back to Baker’s Hill and buy their yummy pastries.
From there, we went to Immaculate Conception Parish and beside it is Plaza Cuartel. We also went to the Baywalk. We found a restaurant that offers a boodle-type of food for 2 for only Php 300. So that was for dinner!
After Baywalk, we roamed around the city. We dropped by at Nokinoks to try their famous creamy Halohalo. And yes, that’s one of the creamiest halohalo I’ve ever tasted. That’s all for our city tour.
Day 5: November 27, 2016
Second day for Puerto Princesa is for Underground River Tour. We left PPS around 8:00am for a 1 1/2 to 2 hours travel time to Sabang. We had a stopover at Buenavista Deck to have a glimpse of the West Philippine Sea.
We arrived around 11am. Since there is a long queue that time, our tour guide – Ate Grace told us to have an early lunch at Gusto Grill. I enjoyed our lunch because it’s first time to try grilled clam. It’s so tasty that I’m thinking to try it at home.
And never will I miss to try Tamilok in Palawan! I bought Tamilok for P100. Bucketlist ticked off! Just like sea urchins, sea cucumbers, tamilok tastes similar to them. So nothing to worry about if you are so game to try these exotic sea foods.
From the port, it is a 15-minute boat ride to Underground River.
While waiting for our turn, we just roamed around with our tour guide and checked some monitor lizards and monkeys within the vicinity. Monkeys in Palawan are not domesticated. They can grab your bag or food when you are not attentive of it.
The underground river tour will last only for 45 minutes. The tourism officers will give you an audio device to be your tour guide along with the paddleboat drivers.
Around 3:00 pm, we are on our way back to the city and rested.
Day 6: November 28, 2016
Second day is for Honda Bay Tour. I and Franz are both excited since we’ll have more swimming and snorkeling activities. From the city to Honda Bay Wharf is just around 45 minutes. Before arriving in the wharf, we dropped by at the registration area. Just like in El Nido, you need to rent for aqua shoes and snorkeling gears.
First stop was in Starfish Island. It is meant for fish feeding. We also had some picture tricks.
Next is the Seahorse Island, it is a sandbar in the center of the sea. We did some snorkeling in the area.
Last stop is Cowrie Island. We had our buffet lunch and beach bumming.
We finished the tour around 3pm. We asked our driver to dropped us off at the souvenir shop/market. There we bought keychains as cheap as 5pesos. Perfect for souvenirs!
From there, we were supposed to have an early dinner at Kalui Restaurant. However, the next available reservation is around 8:30pm. So we decided to look for another place which is just a few distance from Kalui – Kinabuch Grill.
We rode a multicab back to our hotel instead of tricycle. We only paid 16 pesos each. So the next time we will be in Palawan, we can go commuting through multicab for cheaper fares.
Day 7: November 29, 2016
Time to go home and say goodbye to the World’s Best Island – Palawan. We left Palawan around 10:30am (Delayed flight) and arrived in Manila around 12 noon.
Soooo, here are my hotel reviews for the places we checked in.
Here’s the summary of our expenses per destination:
This is exclusive of our airline ticket. Our airline roundtrip ticket is 2,400 pesos for the both of us already, which is only around 600pesos per person per way.
If you are planning to go to El Nido and have some island hopping tours and beach bumming, Php8500 is already okay for 2 persons for 4 days and 3 nights inclusive of transfers.
If you are planning to go to Puerto Princesa to see the famous Underground River and hop on for Honda Bay Tour, Php9000 for 2 persons for 4 days and 3 nights will make you survive.
Soooo, there you have it. My 7 days 6 nights DIY Itinerary to El Nido and Puerto Princesa.
Hope you can share it to your timelines and invite your friends to travel and tick off your own bucketlist!!!
You can invite me too!!!
If you are also planning to go to Coron, which I really recommend, check out also my blog here.
4 days and 3 nights DIY Itinerary to Coron.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you have questions, just contact me through my facebook, Instagram, twitter or email, I am more than willing to help you make your trip hassle-free and budget-friendly.
2 thoughts on “7 days and 6 nights Budget DIY Itinerary in Puerto Princesa and El Nido, Palawan”
Informative post! This is one of the most recent blogs regarding travel to El Nido/PPS. We are planning to go there this February… May I know what tour agency you availed for your island hopping tours in El Nido? The rates are somewhat lower and I think in other tour agencies they charge 700 just for the kayak rental! -_- I would love to maximize our budget as much as possible, any tips?
Informative post! This post is one of the most recent ones regarding travel to El Nido/PPS. We are planning to go to El Nido this February… May I know from which tour agencies you availed your Island Hopping Tours in El Nido? I noticed that the price seems a little cheaper than the ones I usually see from other tour agencies… Others charge 700 just for the kayak rental! -_- As much as possible, we would like to maximize our budget, any tips?
Thanks a lot!